Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Four Public Laws from First Regular Session of 16th Congress

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): July 6, 2009 - During the First Regular Session of the 16th FSM Congress, four Congressional Acts were transmitted to the Office of the President for action. All four of these Acts focused on amending Public Laws that were made during the time of the 15th Congress. Only one of these Acts was signed by President Mori into Public Law. The others became law without the President's signature.

Congressional Act 16-1, "An Act to further amend Section 3 of Public Law No. 15-55, as amended, to modify the use of funds previously appropriated therein for the operation of the Legislative Branch of the National Government of the Federated States of Micronesia for the Fiscal Year 2009, and for other purposes.", became Public Law 16-1 with President Mori's signature on May 27th, 2009. This law set the operating expenses of the Legislative Branch at the sum of $3,073,003 with a breakdown of $1,457,771 for the operations of the Office of the Speaker and Members of the Congress of FSM, $1,125,232 for operations of the Congress staff offices, and $490,000 for operations of the Congress delegation offices during fiscal year 2009. The amendments from P.L. 16-1 were to increase the operations of the Office of the Speaker and Members of Congress by $15,000, which came at the expense of the operation costs of the staff offices. The line item of Contractual Services was increased using this transfer. Part of this change was to allow for some representation funds for the two new Congressmen from Chuuk State.

Congressional Act 16-3, "An Act to amend Public Law No. 15-31, as amended, by amending Sections 1 and 2 thereof, to change the use and allottee of certain funds previously appropriated therein for the State of Pohnpei, and for other purposes.", became law without the President's signature on June 28th, 2009. President Mori had expressed an earlier concern with legislation of this nature, in P.L. 15-83, where the "incessant changes in public project appropriations could be interpreted as indecision, or weakness, on our part as government planners and decision-makers." By not signing the law, President Mori is trying to discourage this routine and repetitive practice to avoid public misinterpretation.

Congressional Act 16-2 and 16-4 had similar issues. C.A. 16-2, "An Act to further amend Public Law No. 15-32, as amended, by amending Section 1 thereof, to change the use of certain funds previously appropriated therein for the States of Pohnpei and Yap, and for other purposes.", and C.A. 16-4, "An Act to amend Sections 1 and 2 of Public Law No. 15-80 to change the use of certain funds previously appropriated therein for public projects and social programs in the States of Pohnpei, Kosrae, Yap and Chuuk, and for other purposes.", both became law without the President's signature. In his transmittal letters, the President showed concern on the constitutionality of how Congressional delegation offices are being funded both through annual budget measures and through public project appropriations. President Mori points out that funding delegation offices through project appropriation is contrary to the design and intent of chapter 1 title 55, which lays down the budget procedures for the national government, enacted by Congress. In his letter, he asked for Congress to revisit and "carefully study the matter as soon as possible to avoid repeated violation of the procedure and policies governing annual budgeting of all the activities in the national government."

The President also said that this issue "highlights the need for coherent strategic development goals and objectives to be in place as guides to ensure how measurable output should influence the amount of resources that should be allocated to said offices."


For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356
e-mail: fsmpio@mail.fm
http://www.fsmpio.fm/